Gilles' Outlet

December 6, 2006

Changing a receptacle: you never know what you’ll find behind a face plate!

Filed under: House Remodelling — Gilles @ 8:27 am

 
A few days ago, I decided to replace a broken receptacle. It is located outside, close to a deck. I thought this would be a boring task: I have changed so many receptacles I can do it in my sleep and I can’t remember the last time this task challenged me or took an unexpected twist. Well, I was about to find something interesting this time 😉
 
From the outside, the broken receptable looked like that:

 After removing the face plate and the gasket, I found something I did not expect at all:
 

It is not immediately obvious on this picture so let me describe. The box is too deep for the receptacle to be assembled on it as code requires. So someone had the bright idea to cut a piece of wood and glue it at the top, inside the opening so the receptacle can be screwed 1 inch away from the box using wood screws! At least they used exterior wood screws…
 
They really should have arranged for the receptacle to be secured to the box instead of this hack job. I did not have much time to address this right away but I will in the future. Here is how the new receptacle looks like (with the unique assembly hidden behind the face plate and the gasket):

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